Opal Tadpole could be the cure for terrible laptop webcams

hand holding opal tadpole webcam
(Image credit: Opal Camera)

It may be time to say goodbye to your crappy laptop webcam and splurge on the new Opal Tadpole webcam. This camera features 4K quality and an AI-powered directional microphone—all packed into an incredibly tiny 1.2-inch square design that can clip onto your laptop (via 9to5Mac).

For laptop users who regularly need to use their webcam for video calls, a crisp 4K resolution via Opal's Tadpole will be a welcome difference from the standard 720p or 1080p webcams on most laptops. But is it worth $175? Let's dive into a more detailed overview of the Tadpole's specs.

Is the Opal Tadpole webcam worth it?

Opal was founded by former Apple and Beats designers, and the Tadpole isn't the company's first 4K webcam. Opal's C1 4K webcam was highly reviewed for its quality, but most found the original $300 price tag too high. 

The Tadpole webcam, despite its high-quality sensor and mic setup, starts at $175, which is relatively affordable for this tech. You can grab the white model for $175, but the black model is priced at $200 for some reason.

black opal tadpole webcam

(Image credit: Opal Camera)

Inside, Opal's Tadpole webcam is equipped with a 4K, 48MP Sony IMX582 Exmor RS sensor with an f1.8 six-element glass lens. According to Opal, this setup will provide "even better image quality" than the Opal C1 webcam.

You wouldn't even need to buy an extra microphone for quality audio, as the Tadpole features a directional VisiMic microphone that uses AI-integrated technology to filter out background noise. Opal says that the microphone will "[capture] only what the camera can see," so in theory, your dog barking off-screen in the background or a toilet flushing in the other room wouldn't be picked up by the microphone.

opal tadpole webcam in protective case

(Image credit: Opal Camera)

The Tadpole has a built-in clip on a hinge that should "fit most laptop displays on the market," according to Opal. It connects to your laptop via a braided USB-C cable that doubles as a wrist strap you can tighten around your wrist "as you go from meeting to meeting," but I can't see many people wearing a webcam around their wrist.

What I can see more people using is the $25 protective case you can buy along with the Tadpole webcam. The tiny 1.2- x 1.2-inch Tadpole fits snugly inside a case designed to look like a yo-yo that protects the webcam while it's bouncing around in isde your bag or in your pocket.

The USB-C plug used to connect the webcam to your laptop is also decked out with a capacitive touch sensor. When you tap this sensor, you can instantly mute or unmute your microphone.

Although Opal's new Tadpole webcam is only targeting laptop users, and not desktop users as well, it fills a growing need in the laptop community and it's the first of its kind in multiple ways. More people have remote jobs that require regular video calls, and after a while, a fuzzy 720p (or even slightly better 1080p) resolution gets annoying.

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